SIDS urged to explore high fashion potential for ‘pua kumbu’

Winners of the 'pua kumbu' contest in a photo-call with Uggah (sixth from right) and the event organising chairwoman Angelyn Uchi Maseng (on Uggah's right).

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SIBU, May 20: Serakup Indu Dayak Sarawak (SIDS) members should turn their “pua kumbu”(traditional handwoven textile)-weaving skills into lucrative business.

According to a statement, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said this was because the traditional Iban handwoven textile had great appeal and potential in the world of haute couture.

“Let not your ‘pua kumbu’ remain as just a cultural heritage. Exploit its full potential to generate income. Promote it on the Internet or through e-commerce,” he said, when speaking as the guest-of-honour at the Sibu Division Pre-Gawai dinner here last night.

He also urged them to look into setting up supply chains and marketing networks.

Uggah who is the Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development said his ministry was always ready to support them.

He said he was delighted with the initiative taken by SIDS Sibu under the leadership of its former leader Datu Alice Jawan in initiating ‘pua kumbu’-making classes and a competition to seek out the best weaver as it would ensure the long-term survival, further development and refinement of the Iban art.

Meanwhile he also called on SIDS and Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) members to consider venturing into modern or precision farming and urged those interested to contact his ministry.

“We can have further discussions like on organising the relevant training courses and building up the supply chain. We must take advantage of the many programmes as the state government aims to make the state a net food exporter by the year 2030,” he said.

Uggah (fourth left) with (from left) event organising chairwoman Angelyn Uchi Maseng, Alice, Nanta and Jefferson with winners of the Kumang Gawai Sibu 2019 contest.

Touching on the coming Hari Gawai Dayak celebration, Uggah said it was a uniting factor for the Dayak community irrespective of their religion or place of origin.

“We have a very colourful culture developed over time and is still being preserved today.This is a source of pride for us all,” he said.

He added the celebration was a opportune time for young Dayaks to learn about their own culture and for them to pass it on to the next generation as well as a golden opportunity for the Dayaks to show their colourful culture to the nation and the world beyond.

“We are contributing to Malaysia’s rich multi-ethnic culture. Let us, during the celebration, therefore not dwell on petty issues but let us learn to sit together to find out how we can bring progress to our community so that we can move alongside other more advanced communities,” he added.

At the function, Uggah announced grants totalling RM50,000 for Sibu SIDS.

Also chipping in were Kapit Member of Parliament Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi who gave RM10,000 while Nangka and Bukit Goram assemblymen Dr Annuar Rapaiee and Jefferson Jamit respectively gave RM5,000 each.

The night culminated in a Kumang Gawai beauty contest with nine contestants taking part.

Olivia Gundi was crowned the champion with Gloria Malong and Wati Assan in second and third place respectively. — DayakDaily